This is our truth, tell us yours
Two years ago Carter and I wrote about the things Labour wasn’t talking about, and that we thought they needed to. I lamented that the party who had stood in 97 on ending section 28 and equalising the age of consent had become hostage to terfs and swerfs who seemed to think that not calling someone a “poof” made them acceptable. A huge strand of policy was written by people who were deeply prejudiced and illiberal, but had joined Labour at a time when the bar was set very low in terms of minority rights.
When the Labour party won in 1997 Clause 28 was still law. Clause 28 was a vile piece of legislation that said homosexuality must not be taught about in schools, and that no school should teach that homosexuality was acceptable or a “pretended family relationship”.
Children like me growing up were not allowed to be told they were normal, we could not be reassured by our teachers after our suicide attempts, we could have no sex ed that kept us safe, we were perverts and deviants and had to be made aware of that, with the full force of law.
Want to talk about the middle ground? Middle England supposedly supported this law, the Daily Mail lauded it, the Sun routinely called gay people perverts and linked being gay with being a child molester. This was the supposed middle ground of the day. The Labour government first tried to repeal it in 2000, but were defeated by the tories, and it was eventually repealed in 2003.
The middle ground is a shifting ground, a mere 12 years later David Cameron supported gay marriage.
Today, in the Labour manifesto it was announced that the overhaul of the Equality act of 2010 that trans people have been campaigning for would happen if Labour were elected. For far too long a deeply illiberal strand of the Labour Party has been allowed to shape social policy. People who to many are as archaic as the idea that homosexuality is akin to paedophilia, and something children must be protected from. As I also said in 2015
The conversation that Labour, and the whole left, needs to have is what right does the government have to restrict or impose on your individual choices? How do we balance harm to a group against harm to an individual, and when is it acceptable to curtail the rights of some for the good of others?
People who understand such things tell me the country will vote for hate and prejudice on June 7th. I can at least take some crumb of comfort in the fact Labour is moving away from being a party where those who would uphold prejudice find shelter.
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